Principal Financial Group

February 07, 2007 17:35 ET

Second "Nu @ the U" Column Available from the Principal Financial Group, Addresses Career Fair Etiquette

DES MOINES, IOWA--(Collegiate Presswire - February 7, 2007) - Principal Financial Group (NYSE:PFG):

Dear Nu,

I'm going to a career fair next week. Since it isn't a real job interview and since I'm just going to stop in, I'm not planning on dressing up. I'm sure the recruiters understand how it is, right?

Signed,

Keeping It Casual

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Dear Casual,

Yes and no. Actually, let me rephrase that. No.

Even though you might not take this career fair seriously, the recruiters will. And they won't just look at your resume--they'll also look at you. How you dress, how you talk, your body language, everything.

Keep these tips in mind:

-- Dress as if you're going to an interview. Think of a career fair as the interview before the interview, and dress professionally. When in doubt, cover it up. This is not the place to showcase your runway fashion, body piercing or "personal assets."

-- Camo the clutter. Carry paper copies of your resume, some cover letters and your professional portfolio (if applicable) in an attractive folder or briefcase. Stash your backpack somewhere else. And for the growing number of companies that don't accept cover letters and/or resumes, have a convenient and professional way to gather business cards and company information for later follow up.

-- Prepare your spiel ahead of time. Be ready to briefly - but ever-so-eloquently - summarize your accomplishments, your objectives and what you have to offer prospective employers. The goal is to pique the recruiter's interest without monopolizing his or her time.

-- Maintain your composure. Career fairs can be hard work. After hours of talking to company reps, shaking hands and networking, you may need to "freshen up." Drink water, pop a mint and keep your hands dry if you're apt to sweat. It's hard for a recruiter to focus on what you're saying if they are distracted by your, shall we say, body language.

-- Smile. Even if you're stressed and in a hurry, show that you're happy to be there. (Or at least fake it convincingly. This skill will serve you well in life.)

A career fair is a great way to make important contacts and learn about prospective employers. Just come prepared to put your best foot forward (and make sure that foot isn't wearing a sneaker).

Nu Huynh is a College Recruitment Consultant at the Principal Financial Group®. She travels the country looking for the best and brightest recruits. To find the career or internship you're looking for, visit www.principal.com/careers/visits.htm.

"Nu @ the U" is written and distributed by the Principal Financial Group. The character "Keeping It Casual" and the above question are fictitious. For more information, please contact Rhonda Clark-Leyda, Corporate Relations, 515-247-6634, clark-leyda.rhonda@principal.com.

About Nu at the U

"Nu @ the U" is an advice column written for young professionals navigating the unknown waters of internship and career. The workplace column addresses the most timely and common questions received by the national college recruiting staff of the Principal Financial Group. The Principal Financial Group, a member of the FORTUNE 500, leading financial services company (www.principal.com). The Principal has more than 14,000 employees world-wide and has been recognized as a best-in-class employer by Fortune, ComputerWorld, Working Mother and LATINAStyle magazines.

Columns are written by Nu Huynh, college recruitment consultant at The Principal® and made available bi-weekly, Jan. - May 2007. The column debuted on Jan. 24, 2007.

"Corporate America can seem like a 'sink or swim' environment, especially for those with little or no professional experience. As a premier employer, the Principal Financial Group is taking a fresh approach to helping provide practical and actionable advice to help young professionals be successful," noted Huynh.

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